Jeremy Pruitt has a radio contract to fulfill, and that means he’s going to take some incoming fire from Vols fans who are fed up with his 15-17 overall record in Knoxville. Vols fan Phillip from Wartburg, Tennessee waited patiently Wednesday night to ask Coach Pruitt the question that so many fans want answered.
“When are you going to admit you’re not a ball coach and go back to Alabama?,” Phillip asked the ball coach.
Pruitt, who has lost five straight and faces Florida Saturday and Texas A&M on December 12, went with a trust the process response, but not like the one Jim Harbaugh used this week when he told fans to stop being so results-oriented. Pruitt was more diplomatic.
“Well Phillip, you gotta know I am pretty hard-headed, right? So do I feel there are things we can all improve on? I feel your frustration, man. I am with you. I am frustrated too. But we’re working hard, and we’re gonna continue to work hard to put a product out there that you can be proud of. How about that?”
Phillip from Wartburg pic.twitter.com/6v1ZSAypSd
— Callum (@callum_vol) December 3, 2020
In September, Pruitt received a $400,000 raise that will start in 2021 and give him an annual salary of $4.2 million. The Vols opened with two straight wins, but it’s been all downhill from there. They are currently 2-5. A blowout to Georgia has sent the program into a spiral and compelled AD Phillip Fulmer to break his silence Wednesday night and answer questions on Vols Calls on the Vols Radio Network.
“We have a great fan base. I love our fans,” Fulmer said. “But I am gonna tell ya, there’s nobody more impatient than Jeremy Pruitt. He’s intense and relentless to get done what he wants to get done.”
From the sound of things, this is being chalked up as a COVID year, an asterisk year, and that the program is ready to get to 2021, regroup and get rolling again.
“I have to really look at it from a big picture and realistically and not emotionally,” Fulmer said during his eight-minute radio appearance. “Just the fact that our student-athletes have had the opportunity to compete and play games this season is a victory in itself. They’re facing challenges all the time that are unprecedented.”
Fulmer reminded fans that Johnny Majors, who was 14-15-1 through his first 30 games at UT, didn’t have immediate success.
“It took Coach (Majors) into his fourth and fifth year to get things turned around,” Fulmer said. “Right now, everybody wished it would happen quicker in the process.”